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The die is cast, the cat is out of the bag. Starting from September 1st, recreational marijuana can be bought legit in Canada. After regulating medicinal marijuana in 2001 already, another law was approved yesterday legalizing recreational marijuana as well. "It’s been too easy for our kids to get.....

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Anette and Peter van Schie from Swedish vegetable greenhouse producer, Gällenäs, both came from a long line of horticulturalists. Peter from tomato and vegetable growers in the Netherlands and Anette from potato producers in Sweden. “Potatoes and tomatoes are so closely related that you could inoculate a.....

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Il Bettolino is a cooperative producing basil and aromatic herbs employing the Floating System. It sells its produce directly to retailers and owns 10,000 sq m of state-of-the-art greenhouses managed professionally. In 2017, it produced 90 thousand tons of produce."We're a cooperative that has decided to.....

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Tomatoes are one of the most important horticultural products for both Germany and Europe. At the European Tomato Forum, organized last week in Germany, the industry discussed the growing competition in the market.In the current tomato industry the growth of the snacking segment is an important topic, as.....

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Australian vegetable growers have been inspired to break into international export markets at the Australian Vegetable Export Seminar 2018, held on Monday 18 June 2018 at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.The seminar, a strategic levy investment under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund, ran in.....

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MYM held a ribbon cutting ceremony for its 1.5 million square foot facility in Weedon, Quebec.The official ground-breaking ceremony took place on Tuesday, June 19, 2018 at 2pm at the project site in Weedon, Quebec. The ribbon cutting ceremony and press conference launched the construction of fifteen.....

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Tum dum dum dum dum dum dum dum dum dum dum.... Once it's in your head, you will hardly get it out and start singing along. Now there's another reason to sing a long with the song Little Green Bag by the George Baker Selection. The band fell for the commercial possibilities and allowed Dutch retailer Lidl to.....

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On May 30th, Ag Energy turned 30. Ag Energy Co-operative was founded in 1988 by vegetable and flower greenhouse growers looking for a better way to purchase natural gas. The growers saw an opportunity to unite and formed the co-operative that grew into the modern day Ag Energy.Ag Energy has changed.....

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After having worked for ten years at Agro Care Wieringermeer at Agriport A7, one of the largest tomato nurseries in The Netherlands, Bas Vet has taken the next step in his career. As of June 2018 I start as cultivation advisor for lighted and unlighted tomato cultivation. I am joining the cooperation of.....

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The Economics Bureau of the ING expects an average year for Dutch greenhouse vegetable growers. “After a dark start of the year for greenhouse vegetable growers, the sun is finally starting to shine again. The backlog in production has been caught up with, the quality is good, as is the demand and the.....

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Monday evening saw the start of the second edition of Hort Connections, a union of AUSVEG and PMA Australia-New Zealand Limited (PMA A-NZ). Hort Connections 2018 will be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre 18-20 June. The theme of this year's event is ‘halving waste and doubling.....

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Valoya's fixtures are typically used by seed breeding companies, crop protection companies, vertical farms, research institutes and universities. The wide, patented spectra are what Valoya is known for and now these will become more accessible to greenhouse growers in Valoya’s brand new luminaire for.....

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TTP are fulfilling a construction project of the first series of a major greenhouse complex in Tambov region, Abireg reports. The greenhouse at this stage will occupy 30 ha and the construction is supposed to be completed by the middle of 2019, according to the regional administration.The greenhouse complex.....

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In total, 1,952 Swedish holdings practised professional horticultural production during 2017, employing just over 14,800 people. While 1,555 holdings engaged in open ground cultivation on 12,807 hectares, 744 holdings exercised greenhouse cultivation on a total surface area of just over 286 hectares.While 59.....

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Renovations to Nicholls’ vacant greenhouse are set to combine the efforts of culinary students and Bridge to Independence students to incorporate the modern farm-to-table movement into the university’s culinary program.The idea behind the renovations is to allow for the growth of various herbs, vegetables.....

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Ceres Greenhouse Solutions has completed an innovative cannabis greenhouse complex for their client Vera Cultivation. Vera Cultivation contacted Ceres with a desire to be competitive in the recreational wholesale cannabis cultivation market. Their goal was to build a greenhouse that was extremely efficient.....

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The Walipinis are a sort of greenhouse that go unnoticed in the extreme climate of the highlands of Bolivia. In these underground greenhouses, producers grow products that are unfit for such an arid landscape, which has hot days, freezing nights, strong winds, and scarce water; a place where much of the.....

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Dutch technical university TU Delft is conducting research on creating an Internet of Plants with botanical sensors. The project called Plantenna is being funded by 4TU.Federation, which awarded a total of 22 million euros to five research programs within the theme 'High Tech for a Sustainable Future'. The.....

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Horticultural software does not end with raising and shipping orders. Excel does not need to be the magic wand to resort to when planning your critical processes. Mprise Agriware invites you to come and have a peek at the future of IT solution surrounding horticulture at the upcoming GreenTech fair. Agriware.....

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Based on customer feedback, The Dramm Corporation is now offering their 400PL Waterbreaker with a Protective Ring.The protective ring has been developed over a number of years for use on the 1000PL Series to protect the stainless steel disk. The final iteration of this ring combines a TPR rubber bumper with.....

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Dr. Libo Shan has been appointed director of the Norman E. Borlaug Center Institute for Plant Genomics and Biotechnology, or IPGB, at Texas A&M University in College Station.“We are pleased to have Dr. Shan in this leadership role as we continue to discover new, innovative technologies that help solve.....

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Supplies of radicchio coming out of California are solid. “Supply is matched with demand right now. Even though we had a wet, cool spring, it didn’t affect radicchio plantings here in California,” says Marc Marchini of J Marchini Farms in Le Grand, Ca. “So we’re not over, but not under, just perfect and it.....

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A recent survey by the Lanling Price Bureau shows that the prices of many vegetables in Lanling have increased in comparison with the same period last year. Some vegetable prices have even doubled. The three main reasons for this development are as follows:1. The current vegetable production volume decreased.....

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Hourly labour costs rose by 2.0% in the euro area (EA19) and by 2.7 % in the EU28 in the first quarter of 2018, compared with the same quarter of the previous year. In the fourth quarter of 2017, hourly labour costs increased by 1.4% and 2.3% respectively. These figures are published by Eurostat, the.....

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The 2017/2018 export campaign has come to an end in recent days for the Federation of Horticultural Producers of the province of Las Palmas (Fedex) and the Association of Producers and Exporters of Tenerife (Aceto). The season's results are considered average when it comes to aspects such as yields and.....

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The United States, Spain and Mexico concentrate 40% of the total shipments of Peruvian capsicum (chillies and peppers), which in the first four months of 2018 amounted to US $77.5 million.This is 1% higher than in the same period of 2017 (US $ 76.5 million), according to the manager of Agricultural exports.....

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Leafy green growers seem to be frustrated with the ongoing issues around food safety and romaine. The leafy green and Caesar salad staple has made numerous headlines since April over E. Coli outbreaks which were ultimately connected with Romaine lettuce coming from the Yuma, Ariz. region. That said, with the.....

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In the past few weeks, the tomato market was difficult, price-wise. “The large harvests in particular resulted in this price level. All of Europe is now in production, and we’ve seen very high productions across the line,” says Sjaak Verploegen of Scherpenhuizen. Prices for vine tomatoes are around 20 cent,.....

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The following video shows how thieves break open sealed containers without breaking the seal.

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Gas leaks are bad for many reasons. With the latest state-of-the-art ATEX camera, Gascamera Services can solve gas leaks professionally and efficiently in order to ensure safety and to limit wastage. The camera is equipped with a sensor that is frozen down to -200 degrees Celsius. This makes odorless and.....

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The Fresh Food SRL company wants to offer the local market a wider variety of fruits, vegetables and fresh products, which is why they've ventured into the hydroponic culture with the Dutch salanova lettuce variety.Naoki Nagaoka, the owner of the company said that the idea was to offer consumers a novel.....

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The world is on the cusp of a global agri-food revolution, powered by technology innovation. Globally, we face enormous challenges of water scarcity, hunger and malnutrition as the traditional food supply chain struggles to feed a population set to grow by more than a third by 2050. In the United States.....

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A trip down into the Holland Marsh usually brings you the scent of onions or earthy soil. But are the area's signature crops about to change? King Township is dealing with the proliferation of marijuana growing operations that may or may not be legal in the area around the marsh.The township is in the.....

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Registration is now open for the awards ceremony, which takes place Monday, July 16, during Cultivate’18.

The post Greenhouse Grower’s 2018 Medal Of Excellence Awards Will Recognize Achievements Across the Industry appeared first on Greenhouse Grower.

Posted on 19 June 2018 | 11:51 am

After what happened at Corso's Perennials, this country needs to accept that the only way it will fill all the jobs Americans don’t want is to employ guestworkers, and that the majority of its food in the future will be harvested by foreign hands.

The post Reform for Agricultural Guestworkers is Needed Now appeared first on Greenhouse Grower.

Posted on 19 June 2018 | 9:02 am

The report, which hadn’t been published since 2015, provides critical data on floral industry products and is widely considered to be the benchmark in identifying market trends and sales opportunities.

The post USDA Resurrects Floriculture Crops Report appeared first on Greenhouse Grower.

Posted on 19 June 2018 | 8:22 am

During California Spring Trials, we enjoy identifying some of the prevalent industry and consumer trends, which we hope will inspire you, too. Here are some of the standouts.

The post 6 Cool Trends From California Spring Trials appeared first on Greenhouse Grower.

Posted on 18 June 2018 | 1:10 pm

The Fuego volcano eruptions in Guatemala have caused extensive damage, and since the eruptions, two employees of Dümmen Orange have been missing for days.

The post Two Dümmen Orange Employees Missing Following Volcano Eruption appeared first on Greenhouse Grower.

Posted on 18 June 2018 | 8:15 am

A visit by the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can be unsettling and crippling to […]

The post How Growers Can Be Better Prepared for ICE Inspections appeared first on Greenhouse Grower.

Posted on 18 June 2018 | 7:18 am

‘Dakota Burgundy’ is a more compact perennial than other penstemon and was bred to be a tough plant with an extended lifespan.

The post Terra Nova Debuts New Hardy Penstemon Variety appeared first on Greenhouse Grower.

Posted on 17 June 2018 | 6:12 am

A new study reveals the reasons people choose to include pollinator-friendly plant life around their homes and gardens, and why they may avoid them.

The post Why Consumers Buy Pollinator-Friendly Plants (And Why They Don’t) appeared first on Greenhouse Grower.

Posted on 16 June 2018 | 7:45 am

Pycana, which is labeled for use on ornamentals and other crops, contains natural pyrethrins and canola oil that provides quick control of several insects and mites.

The post OHP Introduces Pycana, a New Bioinsecticide appeared first on Greenhouse Grower.

Posted on 15 June 2018 | 9:47 am

Here’s your chance to get to know the finalists for this year’s Operation of the Year awards. The winner will be announced at Cultivate’18 during Greenhouse Grower’s Evening of Excellence.

The post Presenting Greenhouse Grower’s 2018 Operation of the Year Finalists appeared first on Greenhouse Grower.

Posted on 15 June 2018 | 8:26 am

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Energy will host a workshop on “Innovation and Design in Vertical Agriculture and Sustainable Urban Ecosystems” on June 27-28 in Washington, DC. The workshop will be held at the Thomas Jefferson Auditorium at USDA Headquarters at 1400 Independence Ave. SW in Washington.

Representatives from the public and private sectors will identify and discuss challenges, opportunities and possibilities associated with vertical agriculture and sustainable urban ecosystems. The public is invited to attend morning sessions – which run from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Jun 27, and from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on June 28. However, you must RSVP by June 17 to attend. To RSVP, please go online to: .

A growing world population, accompanied by increased demands on the food supply and increased urbanization, is driving efforts to develop engineering and agricultural innovations within urban systems to sustainably help meet future needs. Vertical agriculture operations could augment production while offering lower emissions, higher-nutrient produce, and reduced water usage and runoff. And placing vertical farms in the context of a renewable urban ecosystem – where one industry’s waste is another’s raw material – could stimulate sustainable economic growth.

Speakers at the public sessions during the two-day workshop include (More detailed information is available online at

• Dr. Sabine O’Hara, Dean and Director of Land-grant Programs for the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). CAUSES is building a cutting-edge model for urban agriculture that improves the quality of life and economic opportunity for urban populations.
• Dr. Dickson Despommier, Emeritus Professor of Public and Environmental Health at Columbia University. Despommier is widely considered to be the originator of the modern concept of vertical farming.
• Dr. Raymond Wheeler, Plant Physiologist, NASA. As the lead for Advanced Life Support Research activities at the Kennedy Space Center, Wheeler has been studying ways to grow safe, fresh food crops efficiently off the Earth.
• Dr. Weslynne Ashton, Associate Professor of Environmental Management and Sustainability, Illinois Institute of Technology Stuart School of Business. She currently leads projects examining urban food system sustainability with Plant Chicago and the Chicago Food Policy Action Council.
• Nate Storey, Chief Science Officer at Plenty, Inc., a private company that is building a global network of field-scale indoor farms.
• Nick Starling, Chairman, Skyscraper Farm, LLC. Nick is the world’s foremost vertical farming economist.  He has researched vertical farming since 2011, and has discovered a variety of improvements needed to feed the world while dramatically reducing water usage and eliminating agricultural runoff.

Posted on 7 June 2018 | 11:30 am

Global Vision. Local Relevance.

4 June 2018, Urecht, Netherlands – Technology innovations and solutions from start-ups and entrepreneurs from across the world that will drive the future of sustainable agriculture and smart food production will be showcased in Europe next month during the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA) at Jaarbeurs Expo Center, Utretch, Netherlands from 20th to 21st June 2018.

The Innovations Theatre, an initiative by GFIA, Europe’s largest showcase of sustainable agtech, will introduce over 40 ground-breaking technologies through talks and demonstrations from companies leading the way with new techniques and trends in sustainable agriculture and food production.

Innovations confirmed will include: Vito Remote Sensing that use state of the art drones for developments in phenotyping for plant breeding; Trapview’s pest monitoring solution that utilizes AI for enhancement in pest control;  Bo Mill that uses infra-red analysis for grain sorting and advanced digital technology revolutionizing precision irrigation; Cerescon’s selective asparagus harvester only previously achievable manually; Netafrim NetBeat’s  revolutionary irrigation system that combines real-time data for crop, soil, weather and irrigation to build a personalised irrigation strategy; Agricultural Natural Biostimulants that boost yields and profits whilst sustaining the fragile soil ecosystem; smatrix a voice-based software for mobile data collection designed for use in demanding conditions such as test fields, greenhouses and climatic chambers; and many more.

GFIA Europe, takes place during the International Week for Smart Food Production (IWSFP) alongside other major B2B agriculture expos such as VIV Europe and the European Halal Expo, and will mark the first time the food and agriculture industries have come together on a global scale. European leaders and thousands of agribusiness, innovators, food industry professional, farmers, NGOs and development experts from around the world will share ideas, action and debate in responding to the most significant challenges needed to drive sustainable agriculture for increased productivity and food security.

With food and agriculture key to the UN Sustainability Development Goals the conference agenda has been aligned to address critical topics including the role of agriculture in reducing greenhouse gas emissions; maximizing farmers’ productivity and profitability without damaging the environment; adapting agriculture to climate change to understand risk and build resilience in the food system; and ensuring the latest scientific developments and technologies get to farmers on scale irrespective of their size or location. Additional partnerships with Bayer AG will provide insightful sessions on the “Food Chain Partnership – a journey of continuous improvement around the globe” and Proagrica will discuss the current challenges and commonalities to maximize European farmers’ productivity and profitability without damaging the environment.

Nicola Davison, GFIA Show Director, said: “GFIA was born on the belief that continuous innovation in agriculture is the only way to support a food secure future. GFIA Europe as partners of International Week for Smart Food Production will continue this momentum with the vast number of new innovations being showcased for the first time in Utretch. For businesses looking to remain competitive and profitable GFIA Europe provides hundreds of product and solutions to improve yields, combat pests, save water, improve animal health or decrease inefficiencies.”

This year’s exhibition will focus on key sectors including: indoor farming and hydroponics; aquatech; and crop production. Entry into the exhibition and Innovations Theatre is free and tickets for the main conference start at €399+VAT and include entry into the International Exhibition, Opening Ceremony, Main Conference, Innovations Theatre, Proagrica Future Farming Theatre, partner workshops, daily delegate lunch, refreshments during networking breaks, plus access to an online meeting system and app to facilitate networking with exhibitors and other attendees. For further information on GFIA Europe and to register visit

Posted on 7 June 2018 | 7:00 am

“Voluntary U.S. grade standards are issued under the authority of the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946, which provides for the development of official U.S. grades to designate different levels of quality. These grade standards are available for use by producers, suppliers, buyers, and consumers. As in the case of other standards for grades of fresh and processed fruits, vegetables, and specialty crops these standards are designed to facilitate orderly marketing by providing a convenient basis for buying and selling, for establishing quality control programs, and for determining loan values.” (From the United States Standards for Grades of Greenhouse Leaf Lettuce)

Voluntary USDA grade standards designate different levels of quality in agricultural products. The USDA has official standards used to grade a lot of different crops including leafy greens like Greenhouse Leaf Lettuce, Field Grown Leaf Lettuce, Kale, Beet Greens, Collard Greens, Dandelion Greens and Mustard Greens. The standards for butterhead lettuce currently fall under the same standards used for Iceberg lettuce. Although the U.S. Standards for Grades of Lettuce do acknowledge the significant differences between the two types of lettuce, they are still grouped under the same standards. And there is no mention of living lettuce in the U.S. Standards for Grades of Lettuce, while living lettuce is one of the primary crops grown by hydroponic leafy greens growers. If the hydroponic lettuce industry is to grow beyond the premium product niche and enter the ‘real world’ of lettuce production, it would be helpful if hydroponic growers decided upon grading standards appropriate for hydroponically grown lettuce.

When hydroponic lettuce growers try to compete against field growers they almost never win in the battle for price per pound. Field growers can sell heads of lettuce wholesale under $0.75. Large hydroponic lettuce growers (3+ acres) can get their price per head close to $0.90. Field lettuce is generally packed in a 24 count box that will weigh 50+ pounds. The heads are easily 1 to 2 pounds. Hydroponic lettuce is often packed in a 6 or 12 count box and the heads rarely weigh over 10 ounces (0.625 pounds).

While hydroponic crops have a lot of external benefits like water savings and food safety, those benefits are not shown when a hydroponic butterhead is graded with the U.S. Standards for Grades of Lettuce. To preserve the narrative around hydroponic lettuce, it may be necessary to have USDA grading standards specifically for hydroponic lettuce so the crop does not lose some of its value when it enters the larger lettuce market that puts it ‘head-to-head’ with field grown crops.

USDA grade standards are helpful in international trade. The U.S. has one of the biggest lettuce importers on the northern border… Canada! (See Stats). Currently most hydroponic lettuce growers sell to local markets or if they are one of the larger hydroponic lettuce growers they might sell to a grocery store chain or produce broker that distributes their product in multiple states. I have seen living butterhead lettuce from Canada in the U.S. but I’m not aware of any U.S. hydroponic leafy greens growers shipping internationally. I would think that the increased shelf-life of living lettuce would be an advantage in international trade since lettuce is highly perishable.

The Standards for Butterhead Lettuce Quality

What should a USDA Grade A butterhead lettuce look like? How big should it be?

I’ve seen a wide range of targets from growers across the US and internationally. The majority of US hydroponic butterhead growers target a head that is between 5 oz. and 8 oz. (with roots attached). Many aquaponic and indoor vertical farms sell heads closer to 5 ounces. Many of the larger hydroponic lettuce growers (1+ acre greenhouses) target heads between 6-8 ounces. I’ve seen some greenhouse lettuce growers target 10 ounce heads. In Europe, it is common to see butterhead lettuce over 1 pound. In Japan, it is common to see living lettuce sold at less than 5 ounces. The market standards for hydroponic butterhead lettuce minimum weight vary but generally the bottom line is the head should not bobble around when packaged in a clamshell. Most living lettuce labels do not even state a minimum weight, instead the label might have “1 Count” or “1 Head”. Beyond weight there’s the more qualitative traits like leaf texture, leaf color and head formation. Check out these unofficial visual aids provided by the USDA to help grade romaine and lettuce. What would a visual aid for hydroponic butterhead lettuce look like?

Here are some of my favorite butterhead lettuces I’ve grown over the years, which do you think looks most like a ‘standard’ butterhead?


Learn more about Farmer Tyler and see his latest books/videos at


Posted on 6 June 2018 | 8:21 pm

Train yourself, or your staff, to make better crop management decisions by learning the basics of plant nutrition management. Nutrient Management 1 is the third course of the Greenhouse Training Online program offered by the University of Florida IFAS Extension, winner of the 2018 ASHS Extension Division Education Materials Award. This course is intermediate level, and designed for people with some experience or entry university level, and are in production, technical or sales roles. The course is offered in English and in Spanish. Topics covered include common nutrient problems, essential nutrients, fertilizer types, onsite pH and EC testing, and growing media.

The course runs from July 2 to 27, 2018. It costs $US 199 per participant, and includes a
personalized certificate of completion. Over 4 weeks, there are streaming video lessons,
readings and assignments (about 3 hours total commitment per week), which can be accessed at any time of day. Click here to register (
For more information, go to, or contact Greenhouse Training, Environmental Horticulture, University of Florida, USA, Email:

PDF: Intro Nutrients Management 2018

Posted on 5 June 2018 | 9:09 am

e-gro Nutritional Monitoring Series: Pepper Transplants

Researchers from top universities have come together to create this series designed to assist growers of floriculture crops with nutritional monitoring.

Below, we wanted to share the factsheet for pepper transplants!

e-Gro Nutritional Monitoring Factsheet for Pepper Transplants PDF


For more, visit

Posted on 5 June 2018 | 8:00 am

The 2018 Aquaponics Association Conference will be held in Hartford, CT at the Hilton Hartford Hotel. Mark your calendars from Friday, September 21, 2018 through Sunday, September 23, 2018 for this exciting three day conference.

The conference will run for three days and feature: the top aquaponics experts from around the world; tours of commercial aquaponics operations; a vendor showroom; interactive discussions and social events for aquaponics growers of all stripes to collaborate. We will continue to update you with more information about the topics that will be discussed as well as provide videos from last years conference.

The deadline for presentation proposals is July 1, 2018
Interested presenters can fill out the form here:
The Conference Committee will make the selection within 15 days of the Presentation Proposal and will notify selected presenters.

Posted on 1 June 2018 | 8:05 am

e-gro Nutritional Monitoring Series: Eggplant Transplants

Researchers from top universities have come together to create this series designed to assist growers of floriculture crops with nutritional monitoring.

Below, we wanted to share the factsheet for eggplant transplants!

e-Gro Nutritional Monitoring Factsheet for Eggplant Transplants PDF


For more, visit

Posted on 29 May 2018 | 8:00 am

Some of the most important crops for feeding the ever-increasing global population include wheat and barley. In order to meet the future demand, scientists have a task of finding ways to improve efficiencies in breeding these and other, similar plant species. Typically, more than 10 years  are needed to develop novel cultivars with an advanced agronomic performance. On one hand it is because several generation cycles are required to obtain genetically stable lines from selected parent material and on the other hand it is because we are limited in how many generation cycles we can carry out annually.

John Innes Centre scientists have found a way to reduce the amount of time needed for new cultivar development. They call it speed breeding and with it the time needed for one generation cycle is cut in half. They ran tests on wheat (Triticum aestivum), durum wheat (Triticum durum), barley (Hordeum vulgare), chickpea (Cicer arietinum), pea (Pisum sativum) and canola (Brassica napus). The findings show that it is possible to have up to 6 generations annually for the first five species listed and up to 4 for canola, as opposed to the 2-3 generations annually under normal greenhouse conditions.

To achieve this, they used a controlled environment set-up with a light/dark period of 22/2 hours as opposed to the plants grown in greenhouses with no supplementary light. The plants subjected to the speed breeding conditions progressed to the flowering stage in approximately half the time of those in the greenhouse conditions. The 22-hour daily photoperiod was achieved by using LED illumination as a supplementary source of light. The spectrum in question is Valoya’s NS1, a patented wide spectrum that is a close replica of the wavelengths produced by the Sun on a clear sky day. Additionally, a Far-Red spectrum was used in combination with the NS1 so as to induce flowering. This is because a low R:FR (red : far red) ratio has been found to reduce the time to flowering in plant species such as wheat, barley, grain legumes and many others.

This approach will enable seed companies to significantly cut costs and to produce results faster. Implications could thus be significant for the global food production. It is important to note that the effect on seed quality and quantity was similar to the slower/conventional breeding cycles. Furthermore, it was possible to show that the phenotype for traits such as loss of awn suppressor, dwarf genes, reduced glaucousness or progression of fusarium could be recapitulated under the speed breeding conditions.

Learn more about speed breeding here.

The full study is available here.

The official press release of the John Innes Centre is available here.

Valoya will be hosting the LEDs & Innovators Conference 2018 at the upcoming GreenTech in Amsterdam. The conference is free-of-charge and the topic of Speed Breeding will be presented by Valoya’s biologist, Ms.Stefanie Linzer. To learn more and to reserve your seat, please click here.



About Valoya Oy

Valoya is a provider of high end, energy efficient LED grow lights for use in crop science, vertical farming and medicinal plants cultivation. Valoya LED grow lights have been developed using Valoya’s proprietary LED technology and extensive plant photobiology research. Valoya’s customer base includes numerous vertical farms, greenhouses and research institutions all over the world (including 8 out of 10 world’s largest agricultural companies).

Posted on 23 May 2018 | 7:00 am

Researchers from top universities have come together to create this series designed to assist growers of floriculture crops with nutritional monitoring.

Below, we wanted to share the factsheet for tomato transplants!

e-Gro Nutritional Monitoring Factsheet for Tomato Transplants PDF


For more, visit

Posted on 22 May 2018 | 8:00 am

Big Tex Urban Farms has seen the benefits of hydroponic growing in its efforts to become a better community partner.

Big Tex Urban Farms has exceeded beyond anything that co-founder Drew Demler could have ever imagined. Demler, who is the director of horticulture at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas, said the growing operation got its start out of an interest by fair president Mitchell Glieber to become more involved with the Dallas community.

Drew Demler, director of horticulture at the State Fair of Texas, founded Big Tex Urban Farms in order to grow food that would be donated to the local community.

Photos by Jessie Wood, State Fair of Texas

Demler said one of Glieber’s main objectives when he became president was to get the State Fair of Texas to be more active in the community.

“The goal was to be a better community partner,” said Demler. “With that in mind, Jason Hayes, who is the fair’s creative director, and I hatched this plan to start a vegetable garden. We wanted to utilize space that was not in use during the rest of the year when the fair isn’t going on. This space is primarily asphalt parking lots.

“We pitched the idea of growing in these specially-designed mobile grow boxes to use up some of that parking space to grow food that would be donated to the local community. We started with a small budget in 2016 using 100 mobile planter boxes to grow food outdoors.

During that first year we learned a lot about the soil, how to grow and ways to improve. We got some decent yields. More importantly we made some important connections with a couple community groups to whom we donated the food we produced.”

During 2016 all of the planting and maintenance was done by Demler and his full time staff of three people.

“During that first year I was really the only one who had much experience growing vegetables,” he said. “There was definitely a learning process for the rest of the crew. We learned when to plant crops, how to harvest and what it needs to look like when it is harvested.”

Community outreach

The food that was harvested the first year was donated to two local charitable organizations.

Drew Demler (left) and the Big Tex Urban Farms crew are producing food using outdoor mobile grow boxes and greenhouse hydroponic production systems.

“Baylor Scott & White Health and Wellness Institute in Mill City, Texas, is our primary beneficiary,” Demler said. “Mill City starts about a mile down the street from the fair grounds. The institute hosts a farmers market for the community on Tuesday and Friday.

“A big focus of the institute is helping people with chronic diseases including heart disease and diabetes. One of the institute’s main objectives is to get people eating healthy, fresh vegetables. We donate vegetables to them and they in turn give the produce away. This is in a community where there really aren’t many other good options for fresh produce. Community residents have learned that they can show up on Tuesday and Friday and pick up lettuce, collard greens, Swiss chard, basil, chives and other vegetables that we produce.”

Prior to working with Demler, the institute had a contract with a produce supply company that provided fruits and vegetables shipped in from California and other outside areas where produce is grown. None of the produce was grown locally.

Another beneficiary of the fresh produce grown by Demler and his staff is Cornerstone Baptist Church. The church feeds the homeless six days a week.

“The church is involved with feeding the people who need food more than anyone,” Demler said. “The church had been receiving donated produce that was declined by different area grocery stores. They weren’t receiving anything that would be considered fresh and they weren’t receiving any greens or lettuces at all. We have been able to change that. A lot of what we donate to the church are leafy greens.”

Positive response leads to hydroponic production

Demler said growing and donating the fresh vegetables gave him and his staff an opportunity to develop good relationships with the organizations they were assisting.

“These community groups were real happy with what we were doing to assist them in their efforts to feed people in the community who really needed help,” Demler said. “We also received some good media coverage which helped generate more interest in what we were doing.”

Because of the positive response from the groups being helped and the media coverage, Demler said his budget for 2017 was increased considerably from what he started with in 2016.

In 2017 Big Tex Urban Farms installed a deep water culture tank and six 8-foot tall vertical grow towers.

“With an increase in funding, we expanded from around 100 mobile outdoor planter beds in 2016 to 529 by the time 2017 ended,” he said. “Also before the fair started in late September we installed a 30- by 15-foot hydroponic deep water culture tank in one corner of our largest 7,200-square-foot greenhouse. We also installed six 8-foot tall vertical tower gardens. This was our first venture into hydroponic growing. The greenhouse had been used to grow plants like palm trees and bougainvillea, and to overwinter hanging baskets, as well as be a really beautiful exhibit room during the state fair itself.”

Demler worked with the staff at Hort Americas, including Chris Higgins, Tyler Baras, Matt White and Jared Lee, to design and install the hydroponic production systems.

Expanding hydroponic production, systems

Demler said the amount of produce that was being harvested from the hydroponic systems got his attention right away.

“In the short amount of time that we had installed the systems and started growing, we were very impressed with the results,” he said. “Our total production indoors and outdoors in 2017 was around 2,800 pounds of produce. This year we have already grown over 2,000 pounds of produce. Over 90 percent of that has come from the hydroponic systems. By the end of April we will have exceeded what we produced for all of 2017. This is one of the main reasons that we’re going to expand our hydroponic systems. It is such a better and more efficient way to grow.”

Demler said the hydroponic systems that were installed in 2017 take up about a 50- by 50-foot area, which he considers to be a relatively small foot print.

“Another reason for expanding the hydroponic systems is the overwhelming positive response from the public during last year’s state fair. We are planning to turn the greenhouse into an indoor ag growing exhibit. This year the public will have access to the hydroponic systems all 24 days of the fair. We have plans to expand on our hydroponics and indoor growing set ups using more of the greenhouse space that we have. We currently have three permanent greenhouse structures and one greenhouse we put up and take down every year.”

Big Tex Urban Farms is expanding its hydroponic systems at the State Fair of Texas because of the overwhelming positive response from the public during last year’s state fair. This year the public will have access to the hydroponic systems during the 24 days of the fair.

Demler said he and his staff are in the process of deciding which additional type of hydroponic systems they plan to install.

“We definitely plan to add another deep water culture tank,” he said. “This tank is going to be slightly larger, measuring 15-feet wide like the first tank, but about 45-feet long. This will provide an increase in production space so that we should be able to crank out a lot more leafy greens by the end of this year.

“We are also going to add another production system so that we can grow hydroponic vine crops inside the greenhouse as well. This system will enable us to grow tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers if we choose. We haven’t chosen the system yet. We are doing the research to see what systems are within our budget.”

Another hydroponic system that Demler plans to add is a nutrient film technique trough system.

“Since we began using the hydroponic systems right before the fair started last year that didn’t give me a lot of time to trial the systems,” he said. “One of things I bring to this is a general horticulture view of knowing what to grow when. We have people telling us they have a hard time managing lettuce in NFT hydroponics systems during the summer because of the heat. So I want to try growing some bush beans and other crops that I haven’t seen other people grow. I want to see what different crops these systems can support. I’m thinking of growing mini bell peppers and dwarf tomatoes in the NFT set up.
“We not only want to be a facility that grows produce for the community—that’s our primary focus. But we also want to be a research facility as well. We want people to be able to learn about how to grow using these systems. We want outside groups to come in and participate and learn from our successes and our mistakes.”


For more: Big Tex Urban Farms, (214) 565-9931;;

David Kuack is a freelance technical writer in Fort Worth, Texas;

Posted on 18 May 2018 | 5:45 am

e-gro Nutritional Monitoring Series: Basil

Researchers from top universities have come together to create this series designed to assist growers of floriculture crops with nutritional monitoring.

Below, we wanted to share the factsheet for basil!

e-Gro Nutritional Monitoring Factsheet for Basil PDF


For more, visit

Posted on 17 May 2018 | 8:00 am

The Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has published a new report on the energy and economic performance of LED horticultural luminaires. The LRC evaluated key factors such as power demand, life-cycle cost, luminaire intensity distribution, and luminaire shading. Of particular importance is the fact that the LRC considered the effectiveness of the entire lighting system for a controlled growing environment.

The research team found that for a given growing area, energy savings were possible with some of the tested LED horticultural luminaires compared to the tested high-pressure sodium (HPS) and metal halide (MH) horticultural luminaires, when meeting the same photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) criterion, but there was remarkably wide variation among products.

The LRC chose PPFD as the primary metric for the evaluation because for plants, PPFD is analogous to photopic illuminance on a work surface in an architectural application. Just as it is only valid to compare the power densities of alternate lighting systems at equal illuminance levels on the work plane, the power densities of alternate horticultural luminaires should only be compared when they provide the same PPFD on the plant canopy. The LRC found that, on average, approximately three times as many LED horticultural luminaires would be needed to provide the same PPFD as a typical 1000-watt HPS horticultural luminaire layout.

For this project, the LRC developed an equal-PPFD-based framework for evaluating and comparing horticultural luminaires, which includes 11 luminaire-specific metrics and 5 application-specific metrics to provide growers with the most accurate information regarding any given horticultural luminaire’s performance. The LRC used this framework to evaluate a total of 14 horticultural luminaires, including 10 LED products. The evaluation included photometric testing, application simulations, and life-cycle cost analysis.

The results of the evaluation show that stakeholders can be misled by considering luminaire efficacy alone. Rather, the luminaire intensity distribution and layout to reach a criterion PPFD are necessary for an accurate life-cycle cost analysis. The LRC report provides a technology-neutral framework that stakeholders can use to evaluate lighting systems.

“Upon analyzing our data, we were intrigued by how intensity distribution and layout emerged as key factors in system performance,” said LRC Research Scientist Leora Radetsky, who authored the report.

When choosing a lighting system for a greenhouse, growers should consider the size and number of luminaires needed, because luminaires block daylight from reaching the plants. The LRC shading analysis found an increase in shading from LED luminaires compared with HPS luminaires due to the size of the luminaires and the fact that more are needed to provide the same PPFD. The shading from LED luminaires reduces daylight in a greenhouse by up to 55% compared with a 5% reduction in daylight from HPS luminaires, thus more electric energy could be needed for lighting with the LED systems, depending upon the available daylight.

In a recent LRC survey, 75% of growers identified the cost of LED horticultural lighting to be a barrier to adoption, therefore it was important to include a life-cycle cost analysis in the report. The LRC found that three of the tested LED horticultural luminaire lighting systems had lower life-cycle costs and the remaining seven had higher life-cycle costs than either of the two 1000-watt HPS lighting systems that were tested.

“Energy use and life-cycle costs vary widely among LED and HPS lighting systems used in controlled environment horticulture,” said Radetsky. “It has been the standard approach for many years in the field of architectural lighting, and is becoming readily apparent in horticultural lighting, that we must conduct complete system energy and life-cycle cost analyses to generate an accurate picture of which technology would work best for each particular application.”

The project was funded by the Lighting Energy Alliance and Natural Resources Canada. Members of the Lighting Energy Alliance include Efficiency Vermont, Energize Connecticut, National Grid, and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance.

View the LED and HID Horticultural Luminaire Testing Report.


About the Lighting Energy Alliance

The Lighting Energy Alliance (LEA) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lighting Research Center is a collaboration of members who pool their funds to advance lighting research and education that is of common interest. Since launching in 2014, LEA has worked to identify effective new ways to save energy, quantify the savings, and support its members in implementation.   

About the Lighting Research Center

The Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the world’s leading center for lighting research and education. Established in 1988 by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the LRC has been pioneering research in solid-state lighting, light and health, transportation lighting and safety, and energy efficiency for more than 30 years. LRC lighting scientists with multidisciplinary expertise in research, technology, design, and human factors, collaborate with a global network of leading manufacturers and government agencies, developing innovative lighting solutions for projects that range from the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to U.S. Navy submarines to hospital neonatal intensive-care units. LRC researchers conduct independent, third-party testing of lighting products in the LRC’s state of the art photometric laboratories, the only university lighting laboratories accredited by the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program (NVLAP Lab Code: 200480-0). In 1990, the LRC became the first university research center to offer graduate degrees in lighting and today, offers a M.S. in lighting and a Ph.D. to educate future leaders in lighting. With 35 full-time faculty and staff, 15 graduate students, and a 30,000 sq. ft. laboratory space, the LRC is the largest university-based lighting research and education organization in the world.

About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, is America’s first technological research university. The university offers bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in engineering; the sciences; information technology and web sciences; architecture; management; and the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Rensselaer faculty advance research in a wide range of fields, with an emphasis on biotechnology, nanotechnology, computational science and engineering, data science, and the media arts and technology. The Institute has an established record of success in the transfer of technology from the laboratory to the marketplace, fulfilling its founding mission of applying science “to the common purposes of life.”


Posted on 16 May 2018 | 8:00 am

Verticulinary Greenhouse Open House

Wednesday, June 13
Industry tours 9:00AM – 4:00PM
Ivy Tech Community College
3701 Dean Drive, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Though our greenhouse is only 3,000 ft2, visitors can expect to see more industry-relevant hydroponic equipment in one location than we believe is anywhere else in the country. We have visited many vertical farming sites around the US and purchased technology that will provide our Agriculture students with hands-on training using the same systems as these fast-growing companies devoted to hyper-local food production. GrowRacksTM have four shelves of circulated water illuminated by red and blue LED fixtures tuned to plant growth and flowering spectra. They grow 2-3” tall, dense planting of vegetable seedlings called micro-greens that are a favorite of culinary artists to provide color, texture and a flavorful punch to dishes. Species include broccoli, wasabi, radish, amaranth, arugula and many more. These unique racks are designed to fit inside shipping containers that can be mobilized to grocery distribution centers, school parking lots, or urban deserts. We also use them for for edible flowers such as viola, nasturtium and borage, as well as lettuce and leafy greens. A High-Wire Trellis System simulates the hydroponic tomato and pepper production of massive greenhouses that grow for grocery store chains. Drip irrigation with nutrient solution moistens slabs of coconut husk fiber, while vines are trained up to the rafters on a twine trellis. Our unique improvement to this system is side-lighting provided by rays of LED fixtures from Fluence Bioengineering that increases photosynthesis along the full length of the vines. TowerGardensTM are seven-foot columns with trailing plants such as strawberries and cherry tomatoes. Water is pumped from a reservoir to the top of each column where it sprays over the roots aeroponically. ZipGrow RacksTM feature an array of vertical gutters that grow lettuce, spinach, kale and other leafy greens using a recirculating system, with an incredible efficiency of 10 plants per square foot of floor space. Our NFT System uses horizontal gutters recirculating a thin film of nutrient solution that lettuce roots grow into. Lastly, our tiered DoubleDeck System with LED illumination and drip irrigation on both levels will simulate vertical production of medicinal cannabis using basil, rosemary, mint and other culinary herbs.

Recirculating water systems greatly reduce the water usage and fertilizer waste, while LED fixtures use less than half the electricity of standard greenhouse lighting. Furthermore, aquaculture units are being put in place that will create organic fertilizer for our systems. This educational greenhouse will be used in partnerships with the Ivy Tech culinary program, local restaurants, the Fort Wayne Zoo, local farmers markets and other community organizations to provide safe, nutritious food while offsetting costs to train the Agriculture students in the new facility.


For more information, contact:
Robert Eddy, CEA Consultancy

Posted on 15 May 2018 | 10:43 am

The Greenhouse Training Online (GTO) program offered to growers by the University of Florida IFAS Extension is the winner of the 2018 Extension Division Education Materials Award from the American Society for Horticultural Science. Over 1300 growers have participated in GTO courses, with an 80% success rate.

Eight courses for greenhouse and nursery growers are offered this year last 4 weeks, and include streaming video lessons, readings and assignments (about 2 hours total commitment per week). Courses are in English and Spanish and can be accessed at any time of day. Click here to register (

The first two courses begin on June 4 2018: Greenhouse 101 and Costing & Profitability.

Greenhouse 101 teaches basic horticulture science, and is designed to help staff with no formal training make better crop management decisions.

Costing and Profitability helps grower managers develop the skills to accurately estimate production cost and profit for your greenhouse or nursery business.

For more information, go to, or contact Greenhouse Training, Environmental Horticulture, University of Florida, USA,


Posted on 15 May 2018 | 7:20 am